More people get on their bikes thanks to investment in cycling

פורסם: 14 במרץ 2010, 23:34 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 24 בפבר׳ 2011, 0:16 ]
02 March 2010 10:10
Department of Health

An unprecedented investment in cycling has improved the public’s health in six Cycling Demonstration Towns – and has had a positive impact on its most inactive citizens according to new statistics published today.

More people get on their bikes thanks to investment in cycling.

The new analysis of research conducted in partnership with the National Obesity Observatory and Sustrans, shows the impact an increase in cycling has had on public health - with a 10 per cent reduction in the number of people classified as physically inactive.

The research carried out for Cycling England shows that, in the first three years of the programme:

  • cycling has increased by an average of 27 per cent in the six towns;
  • the proportion of children cycling to school either every day, or once or twice a week, soared by 126 per cent in the schools where the six towns invested most heavily; and
  • the towns have achieved growth rates for cycling similar to the most cycle-friendly European cities, and matched the growth seen in London.

The six towns received support similar to that in European cities where cycling is popular and cycling schemes are successful.

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said:

"It is really encouraging  to see the positive effect that cycling towns are having on people's health across the whole community. The Government's cycling towns programme has shown that, by making the environment safer and more supportive for cycling we can improve public health and make exercise a part of our daily lives."

The health benefits of getting the most sedentary people to take moderate amounts of physical activity are widely recognised. Physically inactive people are putting themselves at increased risk of early death. By becoming active, this risk is dramatically reduced. The benefits of the Cycling Demonstration Towns programme have been shown to outweigh the costs by at least three to one, with health benefits making up the largest part of this gain. The reduction in mortality alone is estimated to be worth £45 million over ten years.

Increases in cycling in the selected towns were not seen in matched ‘control’ towns where there was no investment in cycling.  The Cycling England programme is continuing to fund these towns and has since committed to investing in a further 12 cities and towns.

Notes to editors

1. The full report can be found on the DfT web site’

2. Using the World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for Cycling it is estimated that this reduced mortality is worth £45m over ten years, or £2.59 for every £1 invested in the programme.  These figures do not include morbidity benefits, nor do they include benefits of increased cycling amongst children and are therefore considered to be conservative.

3. The new analysis was conducted in partnership with the National Obesity Observatory and Sustrans. It used data from the Active People survey. Sustrans is a sustainable transport charity which calls for people to be helped to walk or cycle instead of using motorised transport where possible.

4. The six cycling towns are Aylesbury, Brighton and Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecambe.

5. Between October 2005 and October 2008 the six towns received central funding of £7m which had to be matched locally. Funding since 2008 has continued at a comparable level.

6. In January 2008, the Government allocated £140m to Cycling England over the next three years. This funding injection allowed Cycling England to recruit England’s first Cycling City and 11 new towns in addition to the six already established.

7. Competition for the funding, and the status, was intense with half the highway authorities in England submitting bids and detailed plans. On June 19th 2008, Bristol was named as England’s first Cycling City, and the 11 new Cycling Towns were named as Blackpool, Cambridge, Colchester, Chester, Leighton-Linslade, Shrewsbury, Southend, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Woking and York.

8. With the expansion of the Cycling Towns programme, more than 2.5 million adults and children will benefit from levels of investment equivalent to the best European cycling cities.

9. The average funding for cycling initiatives in English local authorities is around £1 per citizen, per year. In contrast, Dutch towns such as Amsterdam are currently spending around £10-20 per year. The new investment means that the Cycling City and Cycling Towns will now have a total budget of around £16 per citizen per year with match funding.

10. The Cycling Demonstration Towns programme was developed to prove that increased funding and bespoke projects could have a significant impact on cycling rates - and results have exceeded expectations.